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COMAC in 50-aircraft deal with domestic lessor

China’s COMAC has sealed a deal with China Huarong Financial Leasing Company in which the latter will buy a total of 50 C919 and ARJ21 aircraft.

A signing ceremony formally approved the contract for 30 C919s and 20 ARJ21s, bring the total number of orders for each aircraft type to 815 and 453 respectively. Neither COMAC or the domestic leasing firm revealed financial terms of the deal.

The C919 is China’s bid to offer a rival single-aisle option to Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’ A320 families, with the 168-seat C919 test aircraft completing its first long-distance flight in November last year.

COMAC says it has so far secured orders from 28 foreign and domestic customers for the C919, including Air China and leasing company GE Capital Aviation Service, although the majority of the orders are from Chinese companies. Overseas orders account for 10% of the total at present, and include Germany’s PuRen Airlines and Thailand’s City Airways, as well as airlines and lessors from Asia-Pacific and Africa.

The C919 will have a standard range of 4,075 km, with the testing programme well underway following a first test flight in May last year. A second test aircraft flew for the first time in December. It is planned to begin production of the aircraft type in 2021.

The 90-seat ARJ21, meanwhile, began commercial operations mid-2016, with a handful of the regional jets now in operation domestically.


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